The second annual Meshpoints Facilitator Training Tour was a great success, building on the knowledge gained through previous learning modules for our fast growing network of facilitators from across regional Western Australia, taking in innovation hubs in both the Metro and Midwest. The tour enhances work carried out by Meshpoints over the past 12 months to support strong innovation ecosystems across regional Western Australia. By recognising the unique challenges and opportunities in our regions, Meshpoints are able to engage relevant practitioners and spaces that have “been there, done that” to ensure lessons learnt aren’t lost along the way, improving sustainability and efficiency of financial spend for partners and funders alike.
The tour was preceded by a set of learning modules covering
leading and learning (vision and values),
effective relationships (communication and stakeholder relationships),
innovation fundamentals (stages and support), and
growing community (platforms and momentum).
These learning modules were delivered remotely via interactive web-conference allowing for participants from the Pilbara, Metro, South West and Great Southern to interact weekly through online video, then complete a series of follow-up activities and reporting on those activities. This digital approach to teaching and learning enabled practitioners that are essentially ‘alone’ in their regions, to connect, support and learn from others without having to leave their region.
The tour was held over two days in March (building on the one-day tour model of 2017) to provide facilitators with on the ground training in the operational aspects of coworking, networking and learning programs, develop collaborative projects, action plans and gain exposure to diverse examples across multiple contexts that could then be applied back in their region. The tour cemented the learnings from the initial learning modules, and allowed for the critical ‘face to face time’ regional practitioners often lack. Feedback from the tour was extremely positive, with an overall satisfaction rating of 98% and comments such as “I loved being a part of the tour, to experience community collaboration and activation in action” and “great to work through an action plan and reflect on our two days of learning”. The mood over the two days was busy but jovial, with participants enjoying the first day based in Perth, working with space, community and host leads from Spacecubed, Flux/Core Innovation Hub, Impact Seed and Meshpoints, followed by lunch with key industry networks then a tour to Fremantle to take in some privately owned coworking spaces, with a hard earned refresher at Strange Company to round out the day.
Day two kicked off with early flights up to Geraldton where Angie West from Pollinators and City Hive welcomed the cohort and we took in a tour of the historical parts of Geraldton, and then we were back into the brain work. The sessions on day two covered a myriad of different areas including space fit out, activation and digital systems. For the business sustainability session we were lucky enough to connect with a previous Pollinators board member (via video link up) to learn firsthand about the history and varied models of Pollinators and City Hive since its inception.
Over a delicious lunch the practitioners spent time getting to know the community of Pollinators including tenants and board members, which was enlightening and inspiring. The participants then explored Pollinators’ extensive activation of the Geraldton town centre, and met with creatives that have successfully activated disused areas and buildings for multiple uses, creating a sense of community and celebration in Geraldton. The time spent in the Midwest was so valuable and added another dimension to the tour, with those involved really appreciating the differences in context, community, and operational considerations between Perth and Geraldton.